Pistachio coconut granola bars are healthy, portable and packed with delicious flavors. Not to mention studded with green, yellow and purple from the colorful nuts.
In the past several years I have become a huge fan of nuts. I would grab a few handfuls of raw pecans and almonds every day after I got home from track practice in high school, but my love for nuts really kicked off my freshman year of college. My roommate would buy raw almonds in bulk and share them with me. They stayed hidden in blue and black square canvas bins (the one’s every other student in our dorm had) on our Ikea bookshelf, otherwise they would have been gone in a day. Ever since then I have been hooked on raw almonds, though other nuts have since found their place in my snacks.
Though they are one of the more flavorful nuts, I don’t often reach for pistachios. I see the shells, then I see the ready-to-eat almonds and pecans next to them and decide that I don’t want to go through the work of shelling nuts. Shelling pistachios isn’t all that bad, but I want a quick snack. So the pistachios sit on the shelf, waiting to be put out in a bowl for someone to remove their shells. Pistachio coconut granola bars fix that. You shell a bowl of pistachios in one go (or better yet, buy shelled pistachios!) and put them into a quick, easy-to-grab snack – one that doesn’t require shelling. :)
These granola bars are packed full of flavor and healthy ingredients that won’t break your resolutions. They are as quick and easy to make as they are to grab when you’re in need of a snack. All these qualities make them just what we need to start out this (very cold) new year. With the combination of coconut and oats, these bars combine the textures of typical granola bars and chewy macaroons. Speckles of brightly colored pistachios break up any monotony and add depth to the flavor of the bars. With the slightly salty and slightly sweet tastes, I am always satisfied after snacking on one of these granola bars.
Pistachio Coconut Granola Bars
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon almond butter
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups rolled oats
¾ cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
½ cup shredded coconut
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
Note: This recipe makes fairly thin granola bars. If you want thicker bars use the same size pan to make them, but double the ingredients. To make these gluten free, use certified gluten free rolled oats. To make them vegan, substitute maple syrup for the honey.
Line a 9×9 inch baking pan with two strips of crisscrossing parchment paper that fit snugly against the base and the sides of the pan.
In a small bowl, combine the almond butter and honey. Microwave the mixture for 15-20 seconds, or until the honey is runny. Add the vanilla and stir the mixture until the ingredients are fully combined.
In a large bowl, mix together the rolled oats, pistachios, coconut, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. Pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until all of the dry ingredients are coated and the ingredients are evenly mixed. You don’t want any ingredients to be dry, otherwise your bars won’t stick together as well.
Transfer the granola to your prepared pan and spread it around evenly. Place a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper on top of the granola and use a sturdy drinking glass, or other flat surface, to firmly and evenly pack down the granola in the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
When the bars are set, lift the parchment paper out of the pan (grab the opposite corners), and use a large, sharp knife to cut the bars into 3-4 rows and 3-4 columns. Store in an airtight container with parchment paper between the layers of bars, or individually wrap in plastic wrap or parchment paper for on-the-go snacks. These stay fresh at room temperature for a few days, but I find that they stay together better and stay good longer when stored in the fridge.